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Photography

Partial eclipse, May 20, 2012, Toronto

I’ll be the first to admit that the eclipse was a bit disappointing. Four days of crystal clear skies, then when it’s time for the eclipse, a cloud rolls in just as it’s getting interesting. So the best photo that I got was this. Seconds later, the sun ducks behind that cloud at bottom.

I found that using an ND8 filter greatly enhanced the contrast and deepened the reds while the sun was still above the horizon, but was crap after the sun set as you will see here in the full time lapse. 300mm lens, 10 second intervals. Towards the end of the clip, someone is shooting off fireworks (?)

I seem to have a knack for catching unintended things on time lapse. This camera test was taken a couple of days prior, when I caught a UFO in the shot. I hadn’t even realized until I was reviewing the footage.

Same day, prior to the event, I rigged up a ND16000 filter by stacking a bunch of ND filters (3x ND8 + 2x ND4 + ND2) like so, in lieu of a real solar filter.

I used successively larger filter sizes with step up adapters to try to minimize vignetting (not that it mattered in the slightest in this case). Stacking ND’s is usually not recommended, because the flaws in the neutralness are magnified. Turns out that these ND’s aren’t so neutral after all, they block green best, then blue, and do a poor job of cutting red. That’s why the sun is violet in this uncorrected picture. FYI, when photographing the sun, crank up your picture style settings so that contrast is at maximum. Also, try to resist the temptation of cranking your stop above f16, at very small apertures light diffraction could affect your sharpness. This one was taken at 1/8000 f/16 ISO100

A little bit of image processing, I pushed green up to where it was supposed to be, I vastly enhanced the contrast over the narrow range of data, and voila. Sunspots clearly visible.

Same image, more image processing, this time to bring out the corona.

Hopefully I can get better pictures when my 500mm lens arrives.

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